Irish Music: It’s in the blood

My brother recently sent me a new Dropkick Murphy’s song called the Rose Tattoo. I have since played it on repeat 1 for days. It reminds me of this description I once wrote for a book that isn’t finished called Hope’s Journey. This is the beauty of Irish music:

Images of rocky highlands, gray sky and a cool wind tugging at my hair filled my mind. The music wasn’t body rubbing sexy music, it wasn’t techno music, it wasn’t sleepy or just hate-filled. This was life music. IT was drinking, fighting, loving, poverty, wealth, God and country. This was a green land with good strong people who found their pride in being the underdog. This was sacrilegious, spiritual and earthy. This was a woman who stuck by her man and worked just as hard as he did. This was people always looking for a better life and always read to tell a tale to make you think life was better. This was fathers, husbands and highwaymen, vagabonds and scoundrels. This was mothers, maids, crones, lovers, sisters, and whores. This was Irish in its body and blood.

In the middle of them all, more Irish, more green, more ready to walk the craggy hills, sat a man beating his drums in some primeval, tribal call.

The raucous, rebellious, resentful music swelled. Beneath the heart stomping beat rose anger. Anger throbbed and pounded in the’ drums. It beat and beat against the crowd with a deep seated hatred of those who betray trust, those who enslave, those who hurt and lie. It wept for those who suffer at the hands of stronger men and its tears turned to power. The anger, pain and power could rip nations apart, families and homes. It could travel across oceans, time, and flow even in the most deluded blood lines.

This is Irish Music

 

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Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

63205“Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy. – William Butler Yeats

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day everyone!

I hope you have a great day and don’t forget to wear something green!

This is one of my favorite Irish Songs: The Bricklayer’s Song, written by Pat Cooksey:

Dear Sir I write this note to inform you of my plight
And at the time of writing I am not a pretty sight
My body is all black and blue, my face a deathly gray
I write this note to tell why Paddy’s not at work today

While working on the fourteenth floor, some bricks I had to clear
And to throw them down from off the top seemed quite a good idea
But the gaffer wasn’t very pleased, he was an awful sod
He said I had to cart them down the ladder in me hod.

Well clearing all those bricks by hand, it seemed so very slow
So I hoisted up a barrel and secured the rope below
But in my haste to do the job, I was too blind to see
That a barrel full of building bricks is heavier than me.

So when I had untied the rope, the barrel fell like lead
And clinging tightly to the rope I started up instead
I took off like a rocket and to my dismay I found
That half way up I met the bloody barrel coming down.

Well the barrel broke my shoulder as on to the ground it sped
And when I reached the top I banged the pulley with me head
I held on tight, though numb with shock from this almighty blow
And the barrel spilled out half its load fourteen floors below

Now when those building bricks fell from the barrel to the floor
I then outweighed the barrel so I started down once more
I held on tightly to the rope as I flew to the ground
And I landed on those building bricks that were scattered all
around.

Now as I lay there on the deck I thought I’d passed the worst
But when the barrel reached the top, that’s when the bottom burst
A shower of bricks came down on me, I knew I had no hope
In all of this confusion, I let go the bloody rope.

The barrel being heavier, it started down once more
And landed right on top of me as I lay on the floor
It broke three ribs and my left arm, and I can only say
That I hope you’ll understand why Paddy’s not at work today.

Quote of the Weekend

In honor of Saint Patrick’s Day, I wanted to share two descriptive scenes I wrote describing Irish Punk music:

(The Setting: Glory, a woman fresh out of an abusive relationship, goes to see an  Irish Punk band.)

They wove their way across the dance floor to the front of the stage.  All the lights went out leaving the luminescent glow of black lights captured in eerie smiles and t-shirt logos.  A strange chill crept up Glory’s back.  She felt exposed.  What if Mase came up behind her in the dark?  What if he touched her? Cold sweat broke out on her skin.  She curved her shoulders in, protecting herself.

A drum beat startled her.  It hammered out a solid rhythm.  Glory’s blood pulsed with the beat, stronger and stronger driving away her fear.  One light came on.  It drew every eye to the stage.  Travis sat on a huge speaker with a large round drum in his lap.  He hammered out a quick tempo as the spotlight lit him up.  The small, double-headed stick blurred in his trained hand as he pick up speed.  Someone in the back cheered.  The music spread over Glory.  She couldn’t stop a smile.

Travis glanced up, locked eyes with her, and winked.  Glory swayed with his drumming.  He played faster and faster.  Images of rocky highlands, gray sky, and a cool wind tugging her hair washed over her.  One by one the other band members came out and joined their instruments with Travis’.  Everyone on the floor danced.  The music leapt off the stage.  It wasn’t body rubbing music.  It wasn’t techno music.  It wasn’t sleepy or hate-filled.  It was life music.  It was drinking, fighting, loving, poverty, wealth, God, and country.  This was a green land with good strong people who found their pride in being the underdog.  This was sacrilegious, spiritual, and earthy.  This was  a woman who stuck by her man and worked just as hard as he did.  This was people always looking for a better life and always read to tell a tale to make you think life was better.  This was fathers, husbands and highwaymen, vagabonds and scoundrels.  This was mothers, maids, crowns, lovers, sisters and whores.  This was Irish in its body and blood.

Fred sang with a thick accent.  Steve ran his bow over his fiddle and it danced for him.  Rob’s recorder sent a longing deep into Glory’s bones, while Kerry’s violin recalled bombs and modern trials.  Kerry danced around Jamie’s heavy bass grounding them all to the good green earth.  In the middle of the band, more Irish, more green, more ready to walk the craggy hills, sat Travis beating his drums in some primeval, tribal call.  All around, in and through their music Glory danced.  Jigs and moshing melded.  Bodies throbbed. People clapped and laughed.  This music was life.

(After Travis learns what Mace, the abusive boyfriend, did to Glory.)

The music began again, but this time Kerry played in the lone spotlight.  One by one, the others joined her violin. The raucous rebellious, resentful music swelled.  Beneath the heart-stomping beat rose anger.  Anger throbbed and pounded in Travis’ drums.  It beat and beat against the crowd with a deep-seated hatred of those who betray trust, those who enslave, those who hurt and lie.  It wept for those who suffer at the hands of stronger men and its tears turned to power.  The rawness could rip apart families, homes, and nations.  It could travel across oceans, time, and flow even in the most deluded blood lines.

Glory watched Travis’ eyes. They sparked with a fury given life in his drums.  They captured her. They held her differently than how Mase had held her captive with his belittling and beatings.  But they also held her in the same way – caged in anger.  The drum beat loudly in her heart against her ribs and reverberating through her womb.  Glory turned and forced her way through the crowd.  She made her way out of the room.  For the second time in her short life she walked away from love as it turned into abuse.

– Abby Jones

(I don’t know if I’ll every do anything with Glory, but Travis has his own story to tell.  I’m not sure where I’ll put this description of Travis’ band, but some day I hope to have it in a book.)

Sunday Thoughts: Happiness and the Health, Wealth, and Prosperity Movement

Yes, cause you are the center of the universe and get to decide who is worthy and unworthy.

Yes, cause you are the center of the universe and get to decide who is worthy and unworthy.

I know I promised to start the series on things I learned from managing our boutiques that have helped me as a housewife, but two things have been irritating me so I’m going to write about them first.

Sometimes a rage builds inside me, wanting out.  Maybe it’s my Irish roots turning me into a flaming redhead with anger management issues, but whatever the reasons, it happens.  In my line of sight today are two things: one, our modern-day concepts of personal happiness, and two the Health, Wealth, and Prosperity movement.

So, first things first.  You’ve all seen the quotes on Pinterest, on cards, plaques and on your Facebook feed proclaiming your happiness to be of chief importance, right?  They say that true love accepts you for who you are, no one should ever try to change you, and that if the world doesn’t accept you as you are, you have the right to reject and ignore them.

How narcissistic and self-focused could we possibly be?  If I followed any of this advice, I would be divorced, fat, lazy, lonely, alone, and angry at the world. (I’m not saying being fat is a sin, I’m saying I would be a glutton cause I like food.)  I would push most, if not all, of you out of my life starting with my husband and going on from there.  When did we decide being happy was the chief end of man?  And why don’t we see the inherit dangers that belief brings.  With that line of thinking, we would see the murdering of innocents because they get in the way, a high divorce rate, and suicide….oh wait.  We see all that.  This belief system would also incapacitate a society from convicting murderers of all stripes from bullies, to serial killers and terrorist….oh wait, we see that too.

When I think my goal in life is to be happy and that all stress should be eliminated, then I am my own god, my own authority, and you have no right to say otherwise.  Could we embrace a more unchristian attitude?  Now, it is true that I can’t change my husband….in the grand scheme of things, and he can’t change me.  But, we should be helping each other in the process of sanctification.  If my happiness and lack of stress are the most important thing, then I need him out of my life.  I mean the guy wants me to decide what’s for dinner.  He works all day and expects me to keep the house clean, our finances done, and food on the table.  I don’t like doing finances, cleaning the house, or deciding what to cook.  I’d rather sit on the couch and write fantasy stories.  Who does he think he is?  Well, I think he thinks he’s responsible for leading our home, and the man earning the paycheck while I work from home, which is exactly what I’ve been telling him for years that I wanted to do.  If he wanted to do what made him happy, he would sit at home playing video games all day and eating junk food.  If we both did what made us happy, we would both be slobs living on welfare doing nothing.

See the problem is that our society has lost a critical component of truth – total depravity.  Human beings are not naturally good, kind, hard-working, honestly, loyal things.  Occasionally, God shows us some common grace and we are all those things.  But, left to ourselves, left to pursue our own happiness, we would all stop working, engaging, and growing.  We would, instead, sit around selfishly ignoring others, while the world crumbled around us.

Because Stress is the worst Sin you can have in your life.

Because Stress is the worst Sin you can have in your life.

The idea that you should love me for who I am is another lie.  Have you looked in the mirror recently?  I’m so glad my husband loves me despite who I am.  I’m glad God loves me because of Christ.  I’m not a nice person, nor a pretty one.  I can only be those things by the grace of God.  I’m thankful He puts people in my life to help me who aren’t worried about me being happy, but instead being holy.  Pursuing holiness is hard work and stressful.  It requires you to put yourself in a state of iron sharpening iron.  You have to hang out with people who just don’t think highly enough about you.  You have to hang out with people who aren’t as cool as you.  The horror.  (You should read this with your sarcasm voice.)

We, as Christians, need to stop pinning, reposting, and decorating with lies.  We need to see them for what they are – the Devil’s whispers.  We need to remember that nowhere in the Bible does God say our happiness is our chief end, that you need to get rid of stress, and you should be accepted for all you are.  What the Bible does say is that we should be poor in spirit, mourn over our sin, be meek of heart, and put on the fruit of the Spirit.  We are to go to war against sin.  War.  If you’ve forgotten how bloody war is, go watch Lone Survivor.

And, the Health, Wealth and Prosperity movement only adds to this.  Could there possibly be more of a First World Problem than not being healthy, wealthy, and prosperous enough?  Only in a wealthy country like America could such a religion spring out of the Bible.
“God is not afraid of pain.  He does not try to keep us from it.  He does not avoid it for Himself.”  – The Language of Sparrows

So...who is defining blessings and what gave you the right to just hand them out without any qualification?

So…who is defining blessings and what gave you the right to just hand them out without any qualification?

If you can read the Bible and deduce that you are supposed to be wealthy here on earth, you have skipped some critical passages.  If that was true, why did Christ die?  But not just die, why wasn’t he wealthy, healthy, and prosperous while he was here?  Did he not have enough faith?  What part of laying your treasure in heaven do you not understand?  What part of the world hating you do you not get?  The Bible is not speaking of physical riches but Spiritual ones.  We aren’t called to live healthy wealthy lives, but quiet ones in the pursuit of holiness.  God is not in the business of making you happy.  He is in the business of making you holy.

“Life is pain, Highness.  And anyone who says otherwise is selling something.”  – The Princess Bride

Do you think Pastor Saeed Abedini is clinging to promises of happiness here on earth while he suffers, and is tortured in an Iranian Prison?  No.  Those concepts won’t sustain you when you are suffering, being tortured, hurting, angry, or enduring trials.  You must cling to the hope that just as Christ suffered, you will suffer, and just as He is glorified, you will be glorified too.  You must know and understand that the sufferings of this life are nothing compared to heaven, to seeing Christ.  You must know that God is in control and is not the cosmic Santa Claus, but the one who is redeeming, cleansing, and making holy a people unto Himself.

Don’t let yourself get sucked into the idea that all suffering is to be avoided.  Keep your eyes on your treasures in heaven, on Christ.  Don’t look for a better church, better friends, and a better life.  Look for the fruit of the Spirit, a way to serve, and battle your own sin.  This is the life of a believer.  Not happiness.  Not peace.  Not distressing.  Fighting.  Failing.  Looking to grace and the hope of eternal life motivated by the unfathomable richness of the love of God seen in Christ….and Christ died.  Don’t lose that.  Christ died.  Do you want to be like Christ?  Remember he died in a point of submission.  How much does that fly in the face of our culture?

You are never out of the fight.  Don’t let the world around you define who you are!  Look to the Scripture.  Look to Christ.  Submit your heart and mind to the teachings of the Scripture and get busy serving your local church.

Okay….I’m getting off my soapbox and getting busy managing my home.